Having driven over 700 miles from Ohio to New England during the course of my graduate work numerous times, I am no stranger to cross-country travel. Sometimes, when you’re in a rush, a small meal or a snack will have to come from a gas station convenience store, which can throw a wrench in your plan to maintain blood sugar control.
Here are my top five low-carb, protein-packed go-tos when it comes to gas station food shopping:
Nuts and seeds: Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts have abundant protein and fat, and are lower on the carb count, while also providing a lot of fiber. Walnuts are also abundant in antioxidants! Keep in mind that cashews are higher on the carb count, and lower in fiber, making them more likely to raise blood sugar levels, especially if consumed in larger quantities. Sunflower seeds are also a nutrient-rich and blood glucose-friendly snack choice.
Cheese sticks or crackers: Full of fat, protein, and calcium, cheese sticks proved an easy, tasty, and filling option. Also, several companies make “crackers” using just cheese! These make for a really crunchy and satisfying snack. Look out for products like Moon Cheese and Whisps.
Pork rinds: Pork rinds are full of protein and contain virtually no carbohydrates. Crunchy, salty, satisfying, and easy on your blood sugar.
Hardboiled eggs: Eggs are a great superfood, full of protein, almost no carbs, and nutrient-rich, containing numerous vitamins and minerals.
Beef Jerky: Abundant in fat and protein, certain kinds of beef jerky are quite low on the carb count. Just check the nutritional info on the packaging to avoid the sweetened varieties!
While I would not want to eat just these foods on a daily basis, they are great choices to keep you feeling full while helping keep blood sugar levels steady during times like travel, when there may be few other low-carb options available.